The Political Birth, Life and Death of the Weimar Republic

Compiled by Dr. Casey J. Hayes

I. 1917

A. April 14 – Government announces reduction in bread rations

            1.  April 15 – 200,000 Socialists and Communists stage major strikes throughout Germany

B. July 13 – Dr. Georg Michaelis replaces Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg as Chancellor of Germany

            1. October 31 – Michaelis resigns, replaced by Count Georg von Hertling

II. 1918

A. October 7 – November 3 – The German Revolution of 1918-1919 begins (the Naval mutinies)

            1. November 4 – Sailors and worker’s councils declare general strikes

            2. November 5 – 3rd Squadron revolts

            3. November 7 – 100,000 workers march on the Royal House of Wittelsbach; King Ludwig III of Bavaria flees

                        a. Kurt Eisner, head of the Independent Social Democratic Party (USDP) proclaims himself president-minister of the newly proclaimed People’s State of Bavaria

            4. November 8 – All 22 of Germany’s lesser kings, princes, grand dukes, and ruling dukes had  been deposed.

            5. November 9 – Proclamation of a new German Republic by Philipp Scheidemann. Some hours later, Kurt Eisner also declared Germany a Socialist Republic

                        a. Kaiser Wilhelm told to abdicate. Before he can decide, Prince Max formally announces the abdication of the Throne by King Wilhelm.

                        b. Friedrich Ebert assumes the chancellery of the new Republic

                        c. Social Democrats (SDP) demand a government from Prince Max

                        d. Matthias Erzberger arrives at Allied HQ at Compiegne

                        e. First German Republic established

                        f. December – First Freikorps unit formed; Maercker Volunteer Rifles

            6. November 11 – WWI officially ends

7. December 23 – Lt. Dorrenbach, with the Volksmarine, declare the Government under arrest, and surround the chancellery and occupy the phone exchange.

III. 1919

A. The German Revolution of 1918-1919 continues

            1. January – Independent Socialists & Spartacusbund stage large protests. Large sections of Berlin seized

                        a. The “Free Worker’s Committee for a fair Peace” renamed the German Workers Party (DAP)

            2. January 10 – Battle of Berlin begins, starting the Counter-Revolution

            3. January 13 – Battle of Berlin ends, Spartacists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Leibknecht executed for their roles in the uprising

            4. Mid-January – German Government moves to the city of Weimar

            5. February 6 – Friedrich Ebert (SPD) opens the Reichstag in Weimar

            6. February 11 – Friedrich Ebert (SPD) leaves the Chancellor’s Office

                        a. Philipp Scheidemann takes over as new Chancellor

            7. February 21`- Kurt Eisner assassinated

                        a. attempted assassination of Erhard Auer

            8. March 3 – Second “Battle for Berlin”

                        a. Communists seize Berlin

                        b. Weimar government appoints Gustav Noske as the new German Defense Minister

            9. March 10 – Gustav Noske disbands the People’s Naval Division which supported the Second Battle of Berlin, ending the siege.

            10. April 6&7 – Bavaria is declared a Soviet Republic

                        a. Ruled by Ernst Toller

            11. April 12 – Communist take-over of Bavarian Government in Munich, under the leadership of Eugene Levine

            12. April 29 – German Representatives arrive in Paris to begin negotiations with the Allied victors of WWI

            13. May 6 – Munich secured by Freikorps units, ending the Battle of the Bavarian Governments

                        a. 1200 Communists killed.

                        b. Bavaria no longer a Socialist State

                        c. Eugene Levine imprisoned and killed July 5, 1919

            14. May 7 – German Delegation presented with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles

            15. June 18 – German given ultimatum to sign the Versailles Treaty

            16. June 21 – German Chancellor Philipp Scheidemann (SPD) leaves office under duress of  Versailles Treaty terms

                        a. Replaced by Gustav Bauer

            17. June 22 – German Reichstag ratifies the Versailles Treaty

            18. June 28 – Versailles Treaty signed in the Hall of Mirrors

B. August 11 – The Weimar Constitution is announced, officially ending the German Revolution of 1918-1919

            1. Birth of the Weimar Republic – August 11 – The Weimar Constitution is announced, officially ending the German Revolution of 1918-1919

IV. 1920

A. February 4 – Allies demand 900 Germans be handed over for war crimes.

            1. Inter-Allied Commission, under order from the Versailles Treaty, disbands 2/3 of Germany’s  Friekorps

B. February 20 – German Workers Party (DAP) officially becomes the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP)

C. February 24 – First public meeting of the NSDAP

D. March 13 – Kapp Putsch – Berlin

            1. Coup lead by Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Luttwitz to overthrow the Weimar Republic

            2. Right-wing, with support of some military, conservative, nationalist and monarchist factions

            3. Communists seize the demilitarized Ruhr Valley, Dortmund, Dusseldorf while government factions pre-occupied in Berlin

                        a. 300 killed, mostly policemen in the Communist seize

            4. Failed when the Government called for a general strike and the people heeded the call

E. March 17 – Kapp Putsch ends

F. March 27 – Gustav Bauer (SPD) leaves the Chancellorship

            1. Replaced by Hermann Mueller (SDP)

G. April 3 – The Communist uprising in the Ruhr Valley ends

            1. General Baron Oskar von Watter commanding 21 different Freikorps units

            2. Thousands killed in a five-day battle

            3. After successfully ending the uprising, government stops the payments to Freikorps units per disarmament clause of the Versailles Treaty

H. June 21 – Hermann Mueller (SDP) leaves office

            1. Replaced by Constantin Fehrenbach (German Center Party)

I. August 11 – National Disarmament Law takes effect; disbands all civil guards

J. December – NSDAP total membership comes to 2,000

V. 1921

A. March – Allied Plebiscite Commission redraws boundary of Germany, giving approx. 30% of Upper Silesia to Poland

B. April 27 – Allied Reparations Committee levels 33 billion war reparations debt onto Germany

            1. Commands the handing over of 26% of all exports for 42 years

            2. Puts Germany immediately into 12 billion in arrears

C. May 3 – Polish uprising in Upper Silesia, under Wojciech Korfantry, to attempt to reunite the region

            1. May 23 – German Freikorps smash Polish forces at St. Annaberg, ending the uprising

                        a. May 24 – Under Allied pressure, all Freikorps units outlawed

D. May 5 – London Ultimatum sets the total sum of war indemnity at 132 billion marks

E. May 10 – Constatin Fehrenbach (Center) leaves office

            1. Replaced by Dr. Joseph Wirth (Center)

F. July 29 – Hitler becomes the leader of the NSDAP; officially becomes “Der Fuhrer”

G. September 17 – Hitler arrested and jailed for disruption of a speech by Otto Ballestedy of the Bayernbund.

VI. 1922

A. January 12 – Hitler sentenced to nine months

B. June 24 – Hitler Incarcerated

            1. Walther Rathenau, Foreign Minister for the Republic, assassinated

            2. Inflation begins to take its toll: German Mark at 272 to 1 American Dollar

C. July 22 – Hitler released

D. August – 2,000 DM = 1 US dollar

E. October 27 – Mussolini establishes his Fascist dictatorship in Italy

F. November 22 – Dr. Wirth (Center) leaves office

            1. Replaced by Dr. Wilhelm Cuno (no party affiliation)

G. December 27 – France occupies the Ruhr Valley to ensure payment of war reparations in kind.

            1. Weimar government responds by funding “passive resistance” of the workers through the printing of “Papiermarks”

            2. Inflation goes haywire

H. December 30 – 500,000 DM = 1 US dollar

VII. 1923

A. February – Reichsbank buys back Papiermark; stabilizes value at 20,000 to 1 US dollar

B. May 4 – 40,000 DM = 1 US dollar

C. May 27 – Albert Leo Schlageter, a saboteur of the French Occupation of the Ruhr, is executed by French firing squad

D. June 30 – 150,000 DM = 1 US dollar

E. August 7 – 3,500,000 DM = 1 US dollar

F. August 13 – Dr. Wilhelm Cuno leaves office

            1. Replaced by Gustav Stresemann

G. September 1 – 10,000,000 DM = 1 US dollar

H. September – Prices rise hourly in several German cities

I. September 24 – Chancellor Stresemann ends the passive resistance in the Ruhr

            1. infuriates the nationalists

J. September 30 – Major Fedor von Bock crushes a coup attempt by the Black Reichswehr

K. October 1 – 60,000,000 DM = 1 US dollar

L. October 20 – General Mueller marches on Saxony to prevent a communist takeover

            1. General Otto von Lossow in Bavaria is relieved of command but refuses Berlin’s order

M. October 23-25 – Communist takeover of Hamburg (2-day event)

N. November 8 – Beer Hall Putsch by Adolph Hitler and Erich von Ludendorff

            1. Attempt at seizing power in Munich

            2. 2000 Nazis march to the center of Munich and confront police

            3. 16 Nazis and 4 police dead

            4. Hitler ultimately captured and jailed – Ludendorff escapes persecution

                        a. Begins “Mein Kampf”

O. November 9 – Beer Hall Putsch quelled

P. November 12 – Dr. Hjalmar Schacht was named “Reichswachrungskommissar”

            1. Issues the new “Rentenmark” with value backed by mortgage payments on state property

            2. Rentenmark controls inflation – 4.2 Rentenmark = 1 US dollar

Q. November 20 – Gustav Stresemann leaves office

            1. Replaced by Dr. Wilhelm Marx (Center Party)

VIII. 1924

A. February 26, Hitler’s trial begins; sentenced to 5 years

            1. Serves only 8 months

            2. Released December 20

B. August 29 – Acceptance of the Dawes Plan by the Reichstag

            1. Named for American Banker and Statesman Charles Dawes

            2. France must leave the Ruhr Valley

            3. Reduction of Germany’s War debt

            4. US loans to Germany

IX. 1925

A. January 15 – Dr. Marx leaves office

            1. Replaced by Dr. Hans Luther

B. February 27 – Nazi Party “re-founded”

            1. Hitler gives first speech since release from Prison

C. February 28 – Reichspresident Friedrich Ebert dies

D. March 29 – first round of elections yields no clear victor

E. April 25 – second round of elections: Paul Hindenburg defeats Wilhelm Marx in narrow victory

F. July – French and Belgian troops evacuate the Ruhr completely

G. October 16 – Treaty of Locarno signed

            1. Sought a “Universal Peace”

            2. Established permanent Western and semi-permanent Eastern borders of German

            3. Re-established normal international relations between Germany and the Allied powers

            4. Stated that Germany was never to go to war with another country

X. 1926

A. February 14 – Bamberg Conference begins – Hitler and sixty members of Nazi Leadership

            1. Curtail any dissent within the party

            2. Establish Adolph Hitler as the sole, unquestioned authority within the party

            3. Eliminate the notion that the party is in any way a democratic or consensus-based institution

            4. Establish the ultimate program for the party

B. April 24 – Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Berlin Treaty

            1. Establishes a pact of neutrality between the two countries

C. May 12 – Dr. Luther leaves office

            1. Replaced by Wilhelm Marx

D. June 20 – Referendum on the Expropriation of the Princely Families of the Republic

            1. Ultimately, expropriation without compensation failed, and the families were compensated for the lands expropriated during the Revolution

E. September 10 – Germany enters the League of Nations

XI. 1927

A. July 16 – Unemployment Insurance Law passed – Socialists pleased

XII. 1928

A. June 12 – Wilhelm Marx leaves office

            1. Replaced by Hermann Mueller

B. August 27 – Kellogg-Briand Pact signed

            1. Signed by Germany, France and the United States

XIII. 1929

A. June 7 – The Young Plan resets reparations amount and allows it to be paid in installations over a period of 58.5 years

B. October 3 – Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann dies

C. October 29 – Black Tuesday stock market crash, start of world economic collapse

XIV. 1930

A. March 30 – Hermann Mueller leaves office

            1. Replaced by Heinrich Brüning

B. June 30 – French troops leave the Rhineland ahead of schedule

C. July 16 – Hindenburg dissolves the Reichstag in emergency order as per Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution

            1. Brüning’s Cabinet could not be held together

            2. Cabinet under constant attack by the Nazis

            3. Call for new elections

D. September 14 – Reichstag Elections – Nazi Party becomes second largest behind the Social Democrats

XV. 1931

A. May 11 – Austrian Kreditanstalt (Rothschild) collapses, throwing the country into financial turmoil

B. May – Four million unemployed in Germany

C. June 20 – Herbert Hoover puts a moratorium on reparations

D. July 13 – German Bank crisis as result of the Kreditanstalt

E. October 11 – Harzburg Frond formed – coalition between the DNVP (German National People’s Party), the para-military organization Stahlhelm and the Nazis

XVI. 1932

A. April 10 – Hindenburg reelected President of Germany

B. May 30 – Chancellor Brüning leaves office

            1. Replaced by Franz von Papen

C. June 16-July 9 – Lausanne conference

            1. Suspends WWI war reparations placed upon Germany

            2. Signed by Great Britain, Germany and France

D. July 20 – Von Papen dissolves the Prussian government

E. July 31 – Reichstag Elections – Nazi Party becomes largest party in the Reichstag

F. November 17 – Von Papen (Center) leaves office

            1. Replaced by Kurt von Schleicher (no party affiliation)

XVII. 1933

A. January 28 – Kurt von Schleicher leaves office

B. January 30 – Adolph Hitler sworn in as Chancellor of Germany

C. February 28 – Reichstag Fire Decree

            1. issued by Hindenburg at the insistence of Hitler

            2. nullified many key civil liberties of the German people

D. March 23 – Hitler establishes the Third Reich (via The Enabling Act of 1933)

            1. Gave Adolph Hitler plenary (absolute) powers

            2. Passed by the Reichstag due to non-Nazi members being surrounded and threatened

            3. To last four years unless renewed by the Reichstag, which it was (twice)

December 24 – The Skirmish of the Berlin Schloss

December 30 – Spartakusbund (Spartacans) splits from the Independent Socialists (later to become the KPD)

October 4 – Prince Maximilian of Baden replaces Count Georg von Hertling as Chancellor of Germany

            1. Pact to never use war to resolve disputes or conflicts

            2. “Battle of the Bavarian Governments” between Communists and Republic Freikorps units